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Young At Eighty
My friend Santo had invited me to attend a felicitation programme arranged on the occasion of his retirement. There was a huge gathering of present and past employees of his organization. They loved him so much that they could not forgo the opportunity of being present in the grand get-together. After a brief initial cultural programme and messages from the high ups of the big organization the announcer began to call the retirees one by one to distribute the mementos and a small gift to them. There was usual enthusiasm and excitement among the ex employees as they were being felicitated in a befitting manner with an elaborate arrangement of video cameras to capture the events. Things went on smoothly but when my friend went to the dais for the intended purpose there was a bubbling laughter all around. It was an embarrassing scene for both. Santo looked too young in presence of the highly placed gentleman offering him petals! Handsome and slim with a dense curly hair he could pass for a young man in his mid forties! And the official could be considered for a man who had retired five years ago!
Santo is not alone who possess the unusual quality of remaining evergreen defying chronological age. Although he smoked a lot and did not lead a disciplined life perhaps it was in the genes that he could look so young in the winter of his life. I could watch him wonderfully how he would keep himself busy all the time reading or being actively engaged in a productive job, his feet always twitching. He was always available with a beaming face and outstretched hands to extend any sort of help or cooperation needed by his friends. Even when he could not help others he would politely plead his inability with a smiling face. Perhaps that positive nature and amiable disposition added for a good measure for his keeping youthful vigour.
With the development of medical science the average longevity of a human being has risen and one can easily observe how octogenarians or even nonagenarians are doing their daily routine jobs without much support. A few years back I was dumbfounded listening to a super senior citizen, a high ranking ex police officer of the sixties and seventies asking the bank officials in a commanding tone to comply with his instruction without fail. Being in his nineties he was not in a position to make a dash to the bank branch for the purpose but his voice was clear and loud enough to manifest his inner urge and determination. Discipline among the military or police forces also go a long way to keep them active notwithstanding the actual age.
Many of us still are searching for the Fountain of Youth. We go to all extremes to look younger having a youthful spirit no matter what one's age. We spend endless money on surgical face lifts to non surgical procedures. There are other methods to assist in giving us a more youthful look without much expenditure.
Looking younger is not always about perfect skin or a beautiful body. There are little things we can do to help us appear years younger than what we really are. But aging is inevitable! We should be proud of the years we accumulate as they are accompanied by wisdom, experience, and greater insight. Growing old that is inevitable. But looking old? Unacceptable.
Exercise: The Fountain of Youth
Frequent diseases can be prevented if we keep our bodies and minds active; it is not an unavoidable result of years ticking by. Arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, High sugar, heart disease and even dementia often occur because of the unhealthy lifestyle habits rather than as a result of getting older.
Here is a list of the major things you could do that won’t cost too much, but will make you feel vibrant and strong.
1) Changing Perceptions of Body and Aging
2) Physical Exercise
3) Sound Sleep
4) Nutritious Food
5) Yoga and Meditation
6) Love and Friendship
7) Maintaining a Youthful Mind
I know of a Bengali gymnast who is a centenarian and still possesses the ability to do light physical exercise and daily chores without any assistance. He is a living legend of a skilled gymnast and trainer. His extraordinary ability could be traced to his simple lifestyle avoiding junk and rich foods and beverages with sufficient physical exercise and amiable disposition. Not all the sports activist are of that type. Generally after retirement from active sports they tend to shift to non physical activities and easily succumb to diseases and begin to put on an old man’s look.
I have also seen retired persons particularly from police or military taking further services. Nothing could faze them and they were always available for any services to the new employer, be it fetching dignitaries from the airport or visiting ailing staff members -always helpful with hospitality of a seasoned person with a smile. Even advising them to slow down a bit in view of advanced age proves to be of no use as they try not to give up easily till they are too old to dream. “I hope to continue to dream the impossible dreams and to always stay young at heart.”- This is their usual refrain.
Recently I have come across a newspaper report of a confirmed bachelor of south Bengal who after retirement has chosen to remain in an old age home. But he wishes to be safely ensconced in a posh lodge with adequate modern facilities. Being an engineer he has stashed away huge money for his dream life post retirement without an iota of assistance from any one, He is reported to have a very young look and happily enjoying his second innings of life reviewing the conditions of such homes every five years and deciding to shift for better facilities.
Last but not the least I find another example in my Late Sona uncle. Even at the ripe old age he could walk at a stretch for nearly 10 kilometers without any sign of fatigue or disappointment. A confirmed bachelor that he was he could keep major ailments at bay till 85 years and perhaps more than ages medicines caused lot of harm and ultimately snatched away the precious life of a man who always became a friend with any one from 8 to 80 remaining evergreen at heart.
Looking at the people of any place one can easily tell who among them are lifelong exercisers- They stand out from the rest being taller, brighter and easily look 10-15 years younger than their non-exercising contemporaries. They exhibit a youthful behaviour. Let’s be proactive in our approach to aging and grow into our later years gracefully and beautifully leaving good examples for others to follow,
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